Crowdsourcing and Optimal Market Design

42 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2015 Last revised: 16 May 2022

See all articles by Bobak Pakzad-Hurson

Bobak Pakzad-Hurson

Brown University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 16, 2022


Mechanisms used to derive optimal allocations are typically designed assuming agents fully know their preferences. It is often impossible to duplicate optimal allocations when agents imperfectly observe object characteristics. I present a crowdsourcing mechanism to approximate optimal allocations under imperfect observations. To ensure truth-telling, agents are punished when their reports differ from the “wisdom-of-the-crowd.” Under mild conditions, this crowdsourcing-with-punishment mechanism replicates the full-information optimal allocation with probability exponentially converging to one in the size of the market, with small waste. No alternative mechanism can meaningfully do better. The proposed mechanism can be applied in many settings, including two-sided matching markets.

Keywords: Information aggregation, interdependent values, matching, costly voting

JEL Classification: D47, D82, C78, C72, D72

Suggested Citation

Pakzad-Hurson, Bobak, Crowdsourcing and Optimal Market Design (May 16, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Bobak Pakzad-Hurson (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics